Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Were We Awake” as Want to Read:
Were We Awake
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Were We Awake

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In each story of this collection, events make the characters understand that their world is not as it seemed.

In Hidden, the discovery of an affair between her father and aunt is only the start of finding hidden secrets for Hazel.
What it Means to Be Empty-Handed is narrated by a fourteen–year-old daughter of an alcoholic. Her denial and elaborate imagination starts to disin
Kindle Edition, 215 pages
Published November 25th 2019 by Fomite
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Were We Awake, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Were We Awake

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-37
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  28 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Were We Awake
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Review

Author L.M. Brown does it again, creating a wonderful collection of stories that are both connected and illustrate the way life constantly throws people curve balls, turning the world they knew into a completely new one. A collection that showcases that things are never simple or what they appear.

One of the truly engaging stories of the collection has to be Hidden, which delves into the complex family life of Hazel when she discovers her father and aunt are having an affair. Yet as he
Pallavi Sareen
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book begins with the words of Emily Dickinson, which I suppose also formed the basis of its title.
“it is good we are dreaming—
It would hurt us—were we awake—”
This, in itself brought a smile to my face since she is one of my favourite poets. This is the first book I have read by this author.
While reading it, I was amazed by the quality of prose and the feeling of the book. Yes, the feeling which inspired both profound thoughts and a gentle comfort. Some stories made me feel the gloominess i
Heena Rathore P.
A collection of exceptionally narrated and well-plotted short stories that depict the complexities of life. Each and every story felt complete and was very different from each other in respect of plots as well as their implications, yet the theme somewhat remained centric to the multi-faceted and emotionally taxing life one has to plough through no matter how much they wish otherwise.

I enjoyed reading all the stories as they were all well-written. This is my second book by the author, the first
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Title: Were We Awake

Author: L. M. Brown

Length: 236 pages

Publisher: Fomite

Publication date: November 20, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

My rating: 4/5


This book is a collection of 13 short stories.

My Take:

I would like to thank the author for providing me with an Advanced review copy of the book for reading and reviewing. This is the second book of the author that I laid my hands on after reading “Treading the Uneven Road“. I did like the earlier book and hence when the author contacted m
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book offers you thirteen interwoven short stories.

With "Were We Awake", L. M. Brown has created a collection of interwoven short stories with incredibly authentic characters. Each story kept me very close to the protagonists, taking me back to that time and region. L. M. Brown presents thirteen well-elaborated stories which are intriguing and offer food for thought at the same time; even if you do not know the Northwest of Ireland or Boston, Massachusetts, at that time you will get a good i
Happy Booker
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Were we awake is a collection of short stories written in a very genuine way. Each tale is theatrical and has a substantially fulfilling tale. Some take you back in history or are geographically intertwined, and some are more mysterious and dramatic with its dynamic of human behaviour.
I always find collational stories beneficial for people who are not inclined to read long, tedious stories. The author’s job is then to create a short tale that holds a lasting effect. She succeeds in doing this, a
David Harris
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm grateful to the author for a free e-copy of these stories to consider for review.

Were We Awake follows Brown's previous collection Treading the Uneven Road (which I reviewed here). Again, many are set in the same world, and town in Ireland and feature many common characters and themes. Like that book, a few are also set in elsewhere, particularly in Boston. We see some remembered events but from different perspectives. Indeed perspective is a theme here - we see people who presumed themselve
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing

L.M. Brown

When I was first awakened to the joy of writing, short stories were my love. There was something about the genre that allowed the writer to focus tightly, write poetically, and even drop the story midway through that was both challenging and fun.

Also reviewed in these pages was L. M. Brown's "Treading the Uneven Road," stories that carried with them the distinct notes of Ireland and a bit of the unspoken and unseen.

This collection is even more spare in the telling, though it ret
Mari LivTollefsonCarlson
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Surprise is the theme in L.M. Brown’s luminous collection of short stories, Were We Awake, out today, November 20.
Some of the stories in this latest collection are linked, as are the stories in Brown’s previous release, Treading the Uneven Road (March 2019). Raymond, whose father dies in a work accident, appears in a few stories. The murderer of Nick Moody, found dead behind a pub, and Nick’s family also feature in more than one tale. A clown, starfish, cats, exotic birds, estranged couples and
Matt McAvoy
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of understated, yet profoundly compelling slice-of-life stories, by an author I am very fond of. Lorna’s writing is lovely to read, creatively crafted in alluring prose. Be warned though, it can be a little bleak – reminiscent of a grey, rainy day, and there is little respite from a permeating feeling of sadness and melancholy. But, this is not necessarily a bad thing; it is ultimately warm comfort – reading her work brings to mind a feeling of home; hot tomato soup or ste ...more
Gordon Long
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book about the beautiful, ineffable loneliness of the human inability to share emotions. These people are not the ‘larger than life’ who expose their hearts on a big screen. These are the little souls who live their isolation in every empty minute of their lives. Their failures are the lack of contact. Their triumphs are the temporary connections they make with others who sympathize.

The writing teems with subtle touches that dig deep into the heart of the matter and the people. Nothing
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-by-author
“Were we awake” is a collection of 13 short but emotive stories - tales of courage, guilt, love and survival.

The book takes the reader on a passionate journey from picturesque Ireland to the busy suburbs in the US.

Alby is missing his best friend and may not see him, again. Hazel’s life changes when she encounters the dark truth about her family. A mother wrapped in remorse when she’s involved in a hit-and-run of a teenager. When Eva goes on holiday with her family comes back with a deep scar f
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Set in the late 20th century Ireland and Boston, Were We Awake is a collection of inter-related short stories. Melancholy runs like a ribbon through these stories, as does (it seems strange to say this of a book filled with words) silence. The writing is stark, poetic, with far more beneath the surface than the words indicate.

In “Hidden,” when Hazel discovers her father and her aunt are having an affair, it’s only the start of finding other hidden secrets. The fourteen–year-old daughter of an a
Anja  (Anja’s Library)
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews
I loved the wide collection of stories written in this book. Each story had its own tone and element to bring to the book. Although I did prefer certain stories over another, they were all wonderfully written. It’s a shame the weather was nice today because that’s what this book needed. It’s the perfect piece to read in the winter, at night, while you're curled up with some hot tea or cocoa. However, some of the stories were a little bland or boring. The intention was there but it didn't quite h ...more
Pamela Scott
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I was impressed with the quality of the stories in this collection. The stories are vastly different in scope, style and structure. There are no two stories alike. Most story collections have at least one or two that don’t work. I cannot fault a single story in Were We Awake. I loved every story. Walking a Country Road is the stand-out story in the collection. It’s one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. I also loved Cold Spell and Green Balloons
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'Were We Awake' is a collection of stories that all take place mostly in a small Irish town, with a couple that take place in the US. There is overlap between the stories, but it's subtle and the stories stand on their own. I'd say the overall theme is on the dark side. Not dark as in evil, but more as in desperate and hopeless, albeit there are a few glimpses of redemption and resolution. Most of the stories are about normal people in a normal setting dealing with some kind of tragedy of varyin ...more
Amy Shannon
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful stories

I love the stories that Brown put together in this collection, Were we Awake. Each story brings a unique perspective in a life situation that affects not just one character, but all of them. The actions of others can affect those around them. Brown definitely knows how to tell a story, and tells many. The writing style matches the story itself, along with its great pace and giving a whole story in a short story format. I look forward to reading more by this author. This read is d
Ali Bacon
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this author’s first short story collection Treading the Uneven Path until I read her second. Her style is economical without being too understated and her command of narrative pace and tension is terrific. Many of the stories recall the Irish locations of the first collection while others range more widely. I enjoyed all of them, in particular Communion where a school-boy fails to understand a tragic accident has taken place, the complex family drama of Hidden an ...more
Lucy Goodfellow
Nov 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nah
⚠1 Star

Venture into a world which lacks the emotional depth I expect from this writer. The characters were interesting but unfortunately, they were one dimensional. The first story was the only one I felt engaged by and although there was presumed continuity between the stories I felt like this wasn’t enough to keep me engaged due to the writing style.

It took me almost a month to read this and it was only 215 pages.
Ryan Bradley
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What makes Brown's writing incredible is the way she imbues her characters with a palpable vulnerability, calling back to the truly great short story writers like Alice Munro and William Trevor. Everyone has secrets in these stories, and more often than not, they come out quietly but with devastating affect.

If you enjoyed this, it's well worth reading her other books, which share characters with the stories in Were We Awake.
Reads A-Lot
May 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Stories were well-written, sentimental, and lyrical. They almost seemed to revolve around a religious theme. There was a certain somber quality, and, at times, there was a sliver of complexity lacing these lengthy tales. Although I wasn't too taken by these stories, I still have to value good writing. Overall, they were generally fascinating little tales. ...more
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Were We Awake: Stories by L.M. Brown is a collection of stories that is engaging from page one to the end. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day. I was riveted. Not all of these stories will be for everyone, as there is adultery and other hard topics to read, but there is nothing overly graphic here. Brown is a masterful writer of short stories; you’ll turn the last page and feel as if waking from a dream – a dream you’ll be happy to have left, but conscious of its lessons.

Read the full
Erik McManus
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was another book full of compelling short stories that draw you right in and keep you engrossed until the conclusion that sometimes will be happy and sometimes be chilling. You never really know which one you are going to get (which I loved).

There were definitely some stories that I liked more than others. For example, there is one story about a mother that cooks and cleans and takes care of her husband and son and they don’t treat her very well which made me feel so much for this woman. Sh
KayBee's  Bookshelf
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first read by the author and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised as I wasn't quite sure what to expect. This particular book is a collection of short stories that drive you from one emotion to the next seamlessly. Different lengths, different tones and elements, but all engaging and meaningful. I think the author did a great job of delivering strong, vivid and entertaining tales. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be shaken up a bit. ...more
rated it really liked it
Feb 29, 2020
Subhajit Das
rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2019
Tamara Al-Qaisi-Coleman
rated it did not like it
Dec 23, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Aug 01, 2020
marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2019
marked it as to-read
Dec 11, 2019
Gloria Kvaternik
marked it as to-read
Oct 26, 2019
Laura Rubio
marked it as to-read
Oct 30, 2019
Namrata Chahal
marked it as to-read
Nov 07, 2019
marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2019
added it
Dec 09, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2020
marked it as to-read
Mar 05, 2020
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil A Rún, Volume 8 (The Girl from the Other Side, #8)
  • Maps of Bliss and Rage
  • Requiem, Changing Times
  • The Tech
  • The Christmas Pact
  • Mexican Gothic
  • The Cement Garden
  • The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky, #1)
  • The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice
  • Miscreants, Murderers, and Thieves: a collection of short stories about devious behavior
  • The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale
  • Girls Like Us
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Before the Coffee Gets Cold #1)
  • Blood and Silver
  • The Black Shade of White: Justice
  • Djævelens Lærling (Den Store Djævlekrig 1)
  • Promises To The Fallen: A Vietnam War Novel
See similar books…
L.M Brown is the author of novels Debris and Hinterland, and the linked short story collections Treading The Uneven Road and Were We Awake. Her award winning stories have been published in over a dozen magazines.

Related Articles

Diverse voices and sparkling debuts dominate today's contemporary short story collections. For this roundup, we took a look at the...
103 likes · 10 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »